Arp Kovacs


Arp Kovacs was bom in 1948 in a Romanian willage as second child of a teacher parents. After his steady readiness to draw as a consequence he was enrolled in art school at the age of eleven. The early rural cicumstances with a severe structure of existence, and later the following twelve year period of life in a school-residence long way from the parental home, already established his essentially reality-near personal position. After matriculating, he continued his academic studies at the University of Cluj, where he graduated with MFA in 1973. For the next eleven years he worked as a teacher, while simultaneously continuing to paint, and regularly attended the local artistic activities. (1974 Ethnographical Museum, Sighet. 1978 Radio Gallery, Cluj. 1980 Art Gallery Baia-Mare. 1983 National Gallery, Bucharest. etc.)
In 1985 he emigrated to Israel, where already not taking any other mode of existence but freelance artist. Soon after the arrival in the country contacting the Rosenfeld Gallerry became an active member of the Israeli art scene. (1986 Museum Bat-Yam, 1989 Museum Yad Lebanim, Petah-Tiqva, 1990 Rosenfeld Gallery, etc.)
1995 due to private circumstances he moved to Frankfurt am Main, Germany. As a result of a persistent inherent drive, from this time on the absolut priority became the theoretical deepening and the limitless practical experimenting. This process lasted relative long to the detriment of the active public participations, (only two retrospective shows, 2004, 2005 in 984 Stunden Gallery, Frankfurt). On the other hand this period of a consistent, parallel two-way work produced a profound and comprehensive outlook and self-definition, and in the same time a huge body of works and plenty of potential material as well. Taking this route, the fundamental creative stance accordingly going sometimes beyond the sole feeling-mediation, allowing certain role for the rational grasping as well.


from August 2004, Frankfurt am Main,
by Prof. Jean-Christophe Ammann

In the summer, I read Isaac B.Singer's Shadows on the Hudson. The novel is set in New York immediately after World War II.
The people there who fled from Nazi persecution are condemned to fail. But out of that failure, they manage to draw unusual and surprising strength. What is an ordered, straight-lined life compared to one that is characterised by breaks and constant reorientation?

Born in 1948, Arp Kovacs spent his youth in Transilvania, Romania.
He studied at the art schools in Neumarkt and Klausenburg, was teacher for eleven years, emigrated to Israel in 1985 and has lived in Frankfurt since 1994.
The work by Arp Kovacs is characterised by these breaks in his collective biography and the lives of those whom he consciously experiences and articulates as emotional contradiction in his paintings.
Arp Kovacs has no homeland and is at home everywhere and nowhere.
Condemned to fail. But what does it failure mean?
Alberto Giacometti repeatedly spoke of failure.
Friedrich Dürenmatt describes his failure with the words: "My imagination was too radical, I found nothing in language that suited it to form a longer narrative. I stood in emptiness, a writer without the ability to write, just as I would have felt as a painter without ability to paint."

As Wilhelm Genazino recalls, it was Samuel Beckett who made the influential statement: "To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare to fail."
Genazino continues: "The sentence thereby reaches the core of the problem because the artist often endures the nearness of failing existence throughout his life... In failure, the biographical itself becomes reflexive."

Thus, failure has an inherent quality when it occurs out of the necessity of art and the obsessive power of the act of painting.
In other words: when the search for form achieves an added value that refuses to leave the artist alone and constantly drives him forward.
It is the search among constantly new interrelationships that creates Arp Kovacs self, that intertwines like recollections and gaps in one's memory, that combines with moving abruptness like traces of thought.
Fulfilment is undermined by doubt. Doubts can become statements that are immediately questioned again. We are indeed unaccustomed to perceiving the work of Arp Kovacs because they encourage us to take new paths, through the trees and undergrowth, that may improve our orientation

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Arp Kovacs